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My Dad the Bounty Hunter

Entry updated 14 August 2023. Tagged: TV.

French/US animated tv series (2023). Alchemy Engine, Dwarf Animation Studio and Rough and Tumble Productions. Created by Everett Downing Jr. and Patrick Harpin. Directors include Kai Akira, Vince Aparo, Everett Downing Jr. and Patrick Harpin. Writers include Everett Downing Jr., Patrick Harpin and Shakira Pressley. Voice cast includes Laz Alonso, Yvette Nicole Brown, Jamie Chung, Priah Ferguson, Yvonne Orji, Jim Rash, Rob Riggle and Jecobi Swain. Ten 20-25 minute episodes. Colour.

In the present day, kids Lisa (Ferguson) and Sean (Swain) join their truck-driving father, Terry (Alonso), for the weekend (their parents are separated). However, he is called away on a job: though reluctant, the money is too much to turn down, so he arranges a babysitter for his kids ... who have other ideas, stowing away in the boot of his car. Later, they leap out yelling "Surprise!!", to discover they are in a Spaceship and have alarmed an AI Robot – KRS (Brown). Their father is not a truck driver but an intergalactic bounty hunter known as Sabo Brok. He has been employed by Fixer (Rash) of the Conglomerate "to intercept an individual" who has been causing them trouble; and circumstances mean Terry cannot take his children home.

My Dad the Bounty Hunter focuses on the relationship between the children and Terry; his parents' separation has given Sean stress problems, whilst Lisa reacts with resentment towards her father, who responds to emotionally tense situations with jokes rather than talking things through. At one point Lisa discusses her problems with a sympathetic stranger, only to discover later that she is Vax (Chung), the fugitive sought by her father. Hearing Vax is going to a theme park ("the happiest place in the galaxy") owned by Terry's employers, they follow: Lisa and Sean discover the park is a front for a Slave labour mining operation beneath it and Vax is part of a group dedicated to combating the Conglomerate, who take over worlds and exploit their sentient inhabitants. Terry tells Lisa this is none of their concern and he is just doing his job; though he clearly has doubts.

Vax frees the slaves with Lisa's help, but then Terry captures Vax – only to be attacked by alien bounty hunter Glorax (Riggle), who wants Vax's reward for himself. Terry had surprised him at work on Earth some years previously and they had teamed up; Glorax still resents that Terry later broke up their partnership. However, the arrival of Fixer, accompanied by Conglomerate forces, means all – temporarily – work together to escape. Terry, Lisa and Sean return to Earth, to be told their mother, Tess (Orji), was one of Terry's first jobs – but they had fallen in love so they moved to Earth to raise a family: the kids are delighted to learn they are half Alien. However, Fixer comes for revenge – and though he is defeated he makes it clear the Conglomerate bears a grudge and intends to hunt them down.

The series' sf settings, though nicely detailed, tend to be unimaginative – familiar Earth-type locales like fast food franchises, convenience stores, markets, theme parks and the like ... but in space, with aliens. As Children in SF Lisa and Terry are, even for a Children's SF series, perhaps a tad too capable for their age – Terry is an engineering genius, Lisa a smart and capable fighter – whilst the sentimentality and messaging about a family's needing to talk might be a little heavy-handed for adults – but then, they are not the target audience. Overall this is an enjoyable CGI animated show (with flashbacks in 2D) with a good deal of lively action. [SP]


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